We kicked off an incredibly busy weekend (more on this at a later stage) by heading to the family favourite Strand duck pond (just across Strand High School) in order to feed all the hungry quackers. Armed with a loaf of fresh white bread purchased on the way at Cinnamon Square Spar, we arrived at the duck pond only to discover Emily fast asleep in her Bambino car seat.
Not wanting to wake her seeing as she needed the sleep having woken up particularly early on this Saturday morning, we left the windows wound down and stepped out onto the grass embankments – and were immediately flocked by dozens of geese and rather cute white ducks.
(For a change, Egyptian Geese didn’t dominate the scene. Also, the duck pond was at a mysteriously low level, certainly much lower than what I’ve seen it before. Not sure whether maintenance, leak, or just old fashioned Summer evaporation.)
Jessica quickly clambered up onto a park bench and started dishing out white bread slices left, right and center, and it wasn’t long before Chantelle and I found ourselves also joining in on the fun!
Lots of quacking, flapping and bread devouring was to be had, and no time at all the bread was done and we could make a run for it, back to the safety of the car and ready to head on to the next stop of our jam-packed family activities weekend!
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The book I’m currently tasked with reading to Jessica each and every night before bed is a cute kiddie’s tale entitled Quacky Quack-Quack! by children’s writer Ian Whybrow, the same guy who brought us all those Harry and the Dinosaurs titles.
Originally released back in 1991, Quacky Quack-Quack! tells the rhyming tale of a little baby whose mommy had given him some bread to feed to the ducks. However, he opted to eat the bread instead, thereby causing a right proper rumpus to ensue!
It’s a silly little story that encourages the kids to make all kinds of animal noises, like the quacks of ducks, the honks of geese, the eeauw of donkeys, and of course, the roar of lions in the zoo!
Artist Russell Ayto provides the visuals for this rhyming tale, and unfortunately I have to say, I’m not particularly keen on the visuals. The art is slightly too abstract for my liking and not polished enough, though that said Jess doesn’t appear to have too much difficulty in identifying her favourite animals!
Jess loves it enough to make me read it to her every night, meaning that it must be good enough then to recommend to you! :)
Related Link: http://www.goodreads.com
Come to think of it, I haven’t really kept everyone here in blog land up to date with my movements over the last couple of weekends, though looking back I’m guessing that no one really missed all that much anyway.
Three weekends ago, the weekend was pretty much a write off as I spent 90% of the entire weekend holed up in my study, furiously banging out PHP code for work (i.e. the infamous Project 161 incentivised project). Other than a delightful Saturday evening of braai and rugby with the Montgomery Clan in Bellville, I was pretty much tied to my house and my keyboard from Friday right through to the wee hours of Monday morning – In fact, I was so busy that I shipped Chantelle and Jessica off to go and sleep over at her folks’ place and spend Sunday with them so that I could be afforded the peace and quiet I needed for my work environment!
(Still, the hard work paid off as it led to a very successful Monday afternoon final demo of a project that I’ve been working on for the last while, which in turn resulted in a decent little bonus that will allow me to purchase some new and much needed kitchen appliances now that Chantelle is going to be doing her Cookies & Cakes venture as a full time business starting December!)
Moving on from that, two weekends ago I opted to lengthen the weekend every so slightly for myself by rewarding myself with a day’s leave put in for the Friday – which I optimally used to muck about the house as well as see an optometrist. The optometrist experience was a pretty rewarding in that a) I’ve found a really nice optometrist I happen to like, b) a practice which is much closer than the one I last used in Kenridge, and c) gave me good news in that she successfully weakened my prescription such that I no longer strain my eyes during long work days behind the PC monitor. Score! :)
Saturday was dominated by another Willowbridge Market that I did with Mom-in-law Cheryl (Chantelle was working the weekend), whilst young Jessica spent the day with Mom and Dad, enjoying an unexpected visit from the Great Grandmothers as well as a visit to the Sonstraal Dams to see all the ducks and geese! Unfortunately the market wasn’t particularly good, but we still did more than enough to cover the table and our expenses, meaning that it wasn’t a complete loss.
Sunday we were gifted with on the other hand a perfect day in terms of the weather, which made for an awesome Michelle Oosthuizen organised “Spring Day” (technically we missed it by a fair bit) picnic experience with the friends out at Klein Joostenberg, the photos from which can be viewed here. Needless to say, much relaxing on the grass and under the sun was to be had by all! :)
Finally, last weekend was yet another long weekend for me, and it started off on a high note, with a joint Touchwork and Hypenica afternoon braai that went down rather well. As for Saturday, with the Chantelle and the rest of the Montgomery clan handling the Willowbridge Market, I was free to go on a bit of a shopping trip with young Jessica, ending up with a couple of new books for my girl to destroy, as well as a new chipped credit card (my first chipped card) which I managed to pick up in the process as well.
From there the two of us headed out to the Strand/Somerset West duck pond, where despite a rather dead duck floating out in front of us, Jessica thoroughly enjoyed sitting on my lap and throwing out pieces of bread for the ducks to chase. She did get a little nervous when the big geese joined in the fray, but outside of that she really seemed to enjoy the outing.
Next on our to-do list was a stop in at the Gordon’s Bay primary school to drop in on the Funakoshi Karate South Africa tournament taking place there, and I must say it was great to show off little Jessica and catch up on all that has been happening over the last year on the karate scene. The visit was thoroughly enjoyable, but I must admit that it was also a little difficult because I’m seriously, seriously missing my karate as well as my training family at the moment!
The rest of the day was pretty much playing around at home, watching loads of Shaun the Sheep, before a final bedtime routine and then a Chantelle returning from Bellville, just in time to launch into making home-made pizzas and watching the enjoyable Iron Man 2 on DVD.
Sunday was all hands on deck as Chantelle and I woke up early and started tidying up, in preparation for the afternoon arrival of both the Montgomery Clan and the Lotter Clan, who descended upon us to partake in our one day too early Braai Day (Heritage Day) braai. Combining awesome food, entertainment from Jessica and good conversation, with a few competitive rounds of 30 Seconds turned out to be a masterpiece, as we blazed through a fantastic fun day of family.
Chantelle opted to post Jessica off with Oupa and Ouma as they left, leaving the two of us plenty of time to snuggle up, watching some movies and then heading straight to bed, for some rather relaxing and rejuvenating uninterrupted sleep sessions! And with public holiday Monday still to come, I can’t say that my last weekend was bad at all! :)
Chantelle was back on duty for this weekend past, and for a change, Jessica and I stayed planted firmly in Gordon’s Bay for the duration of the weekend! Not that we didn’t achieve much mind you… just look at this list! :)
In terms of entertainment the two of us worked our way through the animated Doctor Strange movie, Tekkonkinkreet, the Iron Giant, and the remaining couple episodes of the Marvel Anime: Blade series, as well as all the South Africa versus Sri Lanka one day cricket action.
(We even put in a little bit of Darksiders on the XBOX for good measure on Sunday!)
We went for our second ever swim in the sea on Saturday, we designed, printed, and placed a whole lot of fliers for Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes venture, we shopped at the mall for a new monitor for Daddy’s office, we read storybooks, and we fed the ducks and geese at the Strand duck pond.
(Mommy got a little scared when the Egyptian Geese got a little too close for comfort. This might have had something to do with the fact that Daddy kept tossing chunks of bread at her feet.)
We did lots and lots of household chores, we baked a chocolate cake for Mommy, we fixed the towel rails in the bathroom, and of course we constantly tidied up after ourselves.
Whew, talk about productive.
Needless to say, both Jessica and I enjoyed the little break from the daily grind! ;)
Ugh, it had to eventually come to an end, but of Tuesday 3rd of January 2012, I find myself firmly back behind the keyboard, banging out fresh new SurveyThumb code for my wage masters over at Touchwork. In truth, I thoroughly enjoyed my two weeks or so off, having spent a lot of time with family and friends, and just generally unwinding as I recharged my batteries in full preparation for 2012!
New Year’s Weekend was very much a Northern Suburbs affair, with Jessie and I traveling through on the Friday to my mom’s place in Bellville, where the three of us spent a lovely day in and out of the pool, despite the nasty little wind that kept popping up and threatening to drive us away. The evening on the other hand was spent back home in the company of wifey, where we got together to enjoy a delicious homemade pizza over a Eagles DVD after a successful putting Jessica to bed routine!
Saturday was literally Braai Day, and after packing both of our little cars to the brim with all of Jessica’s hardware and software, we sped off back to Bellville in order to offload the little one with all her belongings at the Montgomery Clan stronghold, where she’ll be spending the next two weeks with Ouma and Oupa until the Baby Steps daycare reopens mid January. After settling her in with Cheryl, and then promptly grabbing her away again, it was a quick stop off at the local Spar for supplies, before hitting the N1 to Kraaifontein, where Jessie, Chantelle and I joined up with Damen and Michelle, as well as the rest of our friends who had made the trip through for an afternoon New Year’s braai.
With Damen elected tongmaster and stuck behind the raging fire, the rest of the boys dug out a tennis ball and plank, and proceeded to carefully destroy Damen’s backyard with a hearty round of cricket (in a very confined space). Food was eventually served, before the boys once again peeled off from the womenfolk, picked up the XBOX controllers and proceeded to smash each other with a few rounds of FIFA 11.
From there it was back to Bellville as this time we properly managed to leave Jessie behind with Ouma and Oupa, as Chantelle and I headed out back into the breach, this time to Zevenwacht Wine Estate in Kuilsriver, where we joined up with Malcolm, Andri, Michelle, braai master Gary and all of their collective kids at the Ollewage’s swanky pad. There we enjoyed a fantastic evening of good company, good stories and even better food, making it all the way through to midnight for that all important countdown and many ‘happy happy’ wishes!
Finally, it was back to the Montgomery Stronghold in Bellville, where a tired but happy Craig and Chantelle hit the sack for some well-deserved shuteye, the first of 2012!
Sunday was a delayed start for Chantelle who slept in thanks to a massive headache, but when Jessica and I did eventually manage to get mommy out of bed, we persuaded her plus Ouma to join us for a walk around Sonstraal Dam in Eversdal in order to feed the multitude of Egyptian Geese and ducks that call that spot home. After a successful stroll and having depleted our loaf of fresh white bread, we beat a hasty retreat from the busy feathered fiends, heading off to Tyger Manor McDonalds, where Robert joined us so that I could treat everyone to some McDonalds as a late lunch.
From there Jessica, Chantelle and myself shot off to my folks, dropping in at the perfect time to catch both Great Grans (plus Ryan) at Mom and Dad’s pad. More visiting was had, a watermelon devoured, and then it was finally back to the Montgomery Clan where we handed over Jessica to an excited Cheryl and Monty, before hitting the long road back to Gordon’s Bay, and more importantly, our awesome bed!
So yeah, a pretty good New Year’s Weekend after all then I reckon! ;)
I’ve always loved heading over to Sonstraal Dam in Eversdal, armed with bread in hand and on a mission to feed the variety of ducks and geese that inhabit the dam. Now I get to pass on this tradition to my daughter, and seeing as this little outing makes for quite the nice pram stroll, I even invited both Mommy and Ouma to join us! ;)
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So last, last weekend (yes, yes, I’ve taken my sweet time to write this quick post), Chantelle and I effectively cut ourselves off from the rest of the world, jumping into our little green Getz and jetting along on a 5 hour trip through to Nieuwoudtville, tucked in the Northern Cape near Calvinia, and one of the best sources for great tasting lamb and spectacular natural flower shows come every flower season.
We were there to spend the weekend with Retha and Miguel at Retha’s mom and dad’s little smallholding which comes complete with big rambling house, sheep, geese and one or two minor little crops surrounding it. Needless to say, Nieuwoudtville’s one tarred street doesn’t really feature well on the GPS and thus it was no wonder Chantelle and I managed to get just a little lost when we rode into town in pitch black darkness at around 22:00 in the evening – though for once we were both in agreement and was able to pin the blame squarely on Retha’s shoulders thanks to her rather ambiguous directions! ;)
Outside of a wonderful supper (bobotie), breakfast (pap for chantelle), lunch (braai), supper (braai), breakfast (toast with eggs) and lunch (sunday roast) there really isn’t all that much else to talk about because this was one weekend that consisted 100% out of nothing more than sitting around, chilling, enjoying good company and conversation and just letting your stresses and strain simply flow right out of you.
We took in the few sights that Nieuwoudtville has to offer, namely the completely dried up waterfall which is situated in a stunning drop gorge, the amazing quiver tree (kokerboom) forest which is basically a hill densely covered in these alien-looking trees and sheep. Lots and lots of sheep. (Plus we got to see sheep on a farm that included “Plooie”, the world’s ugliest mutated sheep and the mad one – which we attempted to cure by hitting it over the head!)
We also spent a lot of time in Loeriesfontein, about 50km down the road from Nieuwoudtville. Unfortunately Chane and Jasper were in Cape Town for the weekend so we didn’t bump into them, but we enjoyed the hours spent with the rest of Retha’s aunts and uncles, some of who drove all the way down for Kimberley for the big get together.
It was just well and truly proper “kuier” time in other words.
The trip home went a lot quicker than getting there and in truth, it was a real pity that essentially we were only there for Saturday and half of Sunday, but man was it worth it. Both Chantelle and I had slept like logs throughout the stay and had now returned refreshed and feeling like new.
So thanks to the Vorster’s for their wonderful hospitality, generosity and friendship – rest assured we’ll be making our way through to that side of the world far sooner than later! :)
Nieuwoudtville may be a small, speck on the map, but it comes packed with wonderful people, great food, and more importantly, that feeling of just getting away from it all – exactly what us city slickers sometimes need!